So often in our Christian journey, we get discouraged, frustrated, and upset. The situations of life hit hard or circumstances get us down. And sometimes in those moments we want to give up, throw in the towel, and just quit. But its in those very moments that you have to pause and look back at your own story - your own personal testimony.
Many times in the book of Deuteronomy, AFTER God had delivered them from Egypt, the Israelites complained and got frustrated about their circumstances. God had so many blessings in store for them and they were literally on their way to the promised land. However, so often Moses had to remind them along the way about what God had done for them.
Its so easy to get caught up in what's going on around us. Letting our circumstances and situations dictate our emotions, our attitudes, what we do and what we say. How quickly we forget about ALL the things that God has already done in our lives. What He has already brought us through. And the fact that He promises to continue to bless us.
Sometimes we get to a place in our Christian journey, that in order to move forward or take that next step, we need to look back at where God has brought us from. #neverforget #countyourblessings #Godsgrace
Each of us has our own personal testimony. A story to tell. And no two stories are exactly the same.
I’m the eldest of two daughters born to a young couple in Richmond, VA. Mom would always take us to church, while dad stayed home. I remember I never even liked going to church. Something about how people behaved so proper and “holy” inside the building and so rude and mean outside the building.
Eventually, I learned to fake sick so I could stay home with dad too. Then dad eventually ended up in jail and was released on house arrest some time later.
When I was 12 years old, I’ll never forget the man and woman (who would later become my spiritual parents) who were going door to door talking to people in our neighborhood about Jesus. I thought it was all a load of crap, until whatever they said to my parents manifested some very noticeable changes. Like my dad going to church and reading a Bible……??? Never saw that coming.
I’m not even sure if he realizes that it was the changes that God did in his life that really drew me into my personal relationship with God. I figured if God could do a “180” in my dad who was usually high, drunk or lounging on the couch without a care in the world, then He must be real.
We all became Christians that year and became heavily involved in our local church.
I graduated valedictorian of my high school at age 16. With the possibility of going practically anywhere I wanted to go, I defied almost everyone else’s plans for my life of becoming a doctor or lawyer. I listened to God’s plan instead, and headed off to Philadelphia College of Bible (since called Philadelphia Biblical University, and presently Cairn University). It was 5 hours away from home which is exactly how far I wanted to be at the time!
I graduated from there with a B.S. in Biblical Studies and met my son’s father in the process. We got married one week after graduation in December of 2001 and decided to stay in the Philadelphia area. Two years later we started a church which in the years to come would grow and develop amazingly in the community. Our only son was born in 2007.
2012 was the year I call “My 180”.
That year I literally lost everything I had in Philadelphia, except God and my son.
I had just spent the last 72 hours packing up my two-story, two-bedroom townhouse apartment that we had lived in for 8 years. I had gotten a total of about 10 hours of sleep in those 3 days and had an eviction deadline to meet.
November 21, 2012 at 10:38 p.m. is when I got into my Mitsubishi Endeavor packed with every personal item I could possibly fit in it, along with my son and his booster seat. Crying as I pulled out of our apartment complex that night, praying that God would give me strength to drive safely. We were on our way to my parents place in VA, as the next day would be Thanksgiving.
They were expecting us for the holiday weekend, but had no idea that we were coming to stay indefinitely. How would I explain that in the last year I had lost my job, husband, home, car, and church?
Thankfully, I made it through Thanksgiving, telling my parents the story as best I could. Then came Christmas, and the New Year. Getting up out of bed was the hardest thing to do each day during that time. Having contemplated thoughts of suicide on two occasions I was crying out to God in a way unlike never before.
And how grateful I am that he hears our cries! He not only heard me but He answered me in a way that I cannot explain, through the power of His Holy Spirit that comforts us in ways that no one else can.
One day I managed to pick up His Word and started reading again.
I didn’t know where to start, so I started in Genesis. Every day when I was home alone while my parents were at work, and my son was at school, I just saturated myself with worship music and His Word.
The problems did not dissolve overnight. The pain, sorrow, anguish, fear, doubt, shame and stress certainly did not vanish either. But God, through His Word, and the presence of His Spirit in my life held me tightly every single one of those dark days. Giving me a little glimpse of light that shined a little brighter each day.
The main thing I learned is that not only did Jesus die on the cross to save me from my sins, but because of my relationship with Him, he also had given me the strength I needed each day to make it through the pain and circumstances of life.
God NEVER Leaves Us!
This of course, is the just the short version of the story. Nevertheless, looking back, helps me in my day-to-day current struggles. Looking back gives me strength because it remind me of what God can do. My personal testimony is a testament of who God is and what He can do in my life!
Whether it’s a co-worker who seems to want to make your life a living hell, an ex- who will do anything to get you out of your Christian character, a home/family situation that just keeps getting worse and worse, that bill/debt that you just can’t seem to pay off, a vehicle that no matter how much maintenance you have done on it just always seems to have a new issue every few weeks, that temptation that keeps causing you to stumble in your walk with God, a child having problems at school, or the nervous breakdowns you seem to have every other day…..just remember God’s Word says:
I have had and witnessed my share of unfortunate circumstances, but one thing I know for sure, is that if God had not been with me through it all, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
Remember, you made it this far because of God!
And you will continue to live through today, tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that. As long as, He’s with you.
When you reflect on what He's done, it gives you the strength you need to keep pushing forward. Keep trusting, leaning, and relying on God daily. Don’t forget your own story! Your personal testimony will be an encouragement for others. And God has so much more in store for you, as long as, you keep trusting Him!